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GTG Report - When the Irish, Americans & Canadians get together

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Aug 4th, 2007, 11:47 PM
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GTG Report - When the Irish, Americans & Canadians get together

Pictures can be seen at:
http://www.pbase.com/lyndas/mini_gtg_aug_3_07

The planning:

A few emails was all it took to convince OnlyMeOirish (Imelda) and her husband Declan that they HAD to stop for at least the day, if not the night after their cruise from Alaska! The flights didn't work out for the night, but at least we had the whole day together.

And, as Safarimama (Kristina) was only 3 hours away by QuickShuttle, and had missed the first GTG on July 7th, she was determined to join us for the day! We promptly booked her into the 'Africa Room" - our spare room upstairs as Seattle would be a long way home after a full day.

The packing:
Well, it wasn't a problem for me (grab my purse & my camera)but I'm sure Imelda spent lots of time packing for an Alaskan cruise!

The day:

Imelda and Deck were due to disembark the Celebrity Summit at 8:30 in the morning. We were runing late, and of course, it was right at 8:30 as we were running out of the house that our son jamie decided to call and tell us some pretty big news - finding himself having to move on Sept. 1 from the house him and his roomates rent, he decided it was high time to buy a condo. Of course he would pick this morning right as we were rushing to phone us & tell us!

We raced downtown and found Ballantayne Pier, we had only been ther once before in 1992, and we pretty much just drove down a street and found ourselves in front of the ship we were boarding. Well, not any longer. We couldn't figure out to get to the ship that we could so plainly see in front of us. Huge gates, fences, signs, the works. And of course this only happens when you are late! I could just picture poor Imelda and Deck sitting on their luggage looking forlornly for a person they had never met before wondering what they were doing...

Jim must have been a taxi driver in his former life, because somehow he got us there - well, OK, the port authority guy did tell us we couldn't go that way and never to do that again, but.... we got there!

Clutching my special sign, (see pictures - only Fodorites will get it, hee hee hee) I juimped from the car and walked towards a couple that I thought could be them - well as soon as they saw the sign they knew it was me and I knew it was them! We greeted like we had known each other forever, and they both had a great laugh over my 'sign'.

We loaded the suitcases in the 'boot' (love that word), and strapped onto the car, and proceeded to the office where I used to work as they have a huge warehouse there, and I thought it would be a great place to store the luggage. It worked well, and off we went to pick up Kristina from the Quick Shuttle bus stop. We pulled up at exatly the same time as the shuttle did!

With introductions all around (Kristina & I had met for coffee last year, but she hadn't met Jim) we were off on our adventure for the day!

First a short tour of the downtown was in order to show Imelda and Deck, followed by a trip to an art store so that they could pick up some supplies for a friend that are only sold in North America.

Stanley Park was our next destination, it was a little overcast, and a little cool, but, we figured it would clear up by the afternoon. You know what they say here: If you don't like the weather here=, wait 5 minutes, it will change.

We stopped at the totem poles for one of my famous stories that I just had to tell - 32 years ago Jim almost fell off the sea wall there as we were looking at them. I grabbed him just in time, adn after he said 'thanks', he proposed.... And the rest is history! We laughed over the story over ice cream - after all what is a visit to Stanley Park without ice cream?

Our next stop was Prospect Point for a great view, and, as it was lunch time by this time, a nice lunch on an overlook point.

After showing Imelda, Deck and Kristina the devastation on the old growth trees that a storm last November caused, we left the park and gave them the .05 cent tour of English Bay - the weather was getting really nice now and people were starting to crowd the beach.

Driving down the eclectic Main Street, we drove to Queen Elizabeth Park, which sits in the center of the city atop a huge hill. The hill has a name, but I have forgotten it already! (and this was JUST yesterday!) The floers are very pretty in the park, and the view is wonderful. It was still a little cloudy, but we could see it was getting better by the hour.

Granville Island Market was our final stop. We had been lucking out with parking sports all day, our luck even held out here in the hardest place in the entire city to find parking. We explored the very crowded market, looking for fresh veggies for supper, and a great dessert. We found all that we needed and headed home to our house.

We had a wonderful time talking about Africa, and looking at Kristina's wonderful albums that she brought with her. While I prepared the veggies and popped the twice baked potatoes (that I had done the night before) in the overn, and Jim prepared the BBQ, we subjected our poor guests to lst year's infamous DVD that Jim has worked so hard on - and I am happy to report that all enjoyed it!

Supper on the deck was wonderful - Jim's incredible marinated BBQ steaks, corn on the cob, grilled summer veggies, butter buns and cous cous salad with nuts.

But alas, dessert (strawberry rhubarb pie) had to be packed to go for Imelda and Deck as we had to get them to the airport by 9 for their 11 pm flight to Chicago.

It had been a wonderful day, and when we said goodbye at the airport to Imelda and Deck; and this morning to Kristina (who reported having a wonderful restful sleep in the Africa room) as she boarded the Quick Shuttle bus back to Seattle, we knew that we had three more wonderful life-long friends!

Thankyou Imelda, Deck, adn Kristina for making our day so wonderful!

LyndaS is offline  
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Aug 5th, 2007, 03:46 AM
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Loved your story and the sign!

I guess growing up in India I also say 'Boot" and no one here know what I am saying. Actually my 22 year old has picked it up from me as well and confounds her friends!
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Aug 5th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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sounds like you had a great time! Loved the sign-only you would have thought of that welcoming touch! nice to put faces to the names, thanks!
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Aug 5th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Cute sign! Sounds like a fun time.
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Aug 5th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Sounds and looks interesting. Thanks for sharing, Lynda.
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Aug 5th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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What a great day.

Does this mean that we should expect a forthcoming Alaska trip report with photos of Brooks Lodge?

Imelda, if you post it on the US board, please post a cross reference on this board, which I check much more regularly. I'm sure you had a great time!
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Aug 5th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Wow, sorry about all the spelling errors guys, I shouldn't have done that so late at night! Or, at least I should have read it over...
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Aug 5th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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Dear Jim & Lynda,
WOW! you're quick, I bet Imelda and Deck aren't even home yet and you posted a trip report!!!!!!!!
I so very much enjoyed meeting Imelda and Deck.
Thanks for such a wonderful weekend. I enjoyed it very much and your great hospitality will not be forgotten.

Tom & I just watched your CD of your May 2006 Micato trip that Jim so professionally produced with music too boot (no pun intended). Tom loves it too and he thanks you for sharing.

About the Quick Shuttle: You dropped me off exactly on time. It was a full bus, so no extra spaces to spread out. People without reservations were turned away.

We arrived at the border and found a 4 hour wait to cross at the truck crossing, 5 hours at the Peace Arch. What a mess! I had lots of time to read your magazine article in www.thetravelsociety.com (Lynda is a famous journalist on Africa) and also a book. Lynda's picture is on the cover of the Vol 25, No 6 July/August 2007 issue.

I just got “Secrets of the Savanna” (from Amazon) the sequel to Mark and Delia Owens books “Cry of the Kalahari” and “Eye of the Elephant” (must reads), so I just read my way to Seattle. I guess it was the Canadian Holiday on Monday Aug 6 that prompted everyone to cross over to the US at the same time. The driver had never, in 6 years of driving every week, been so far back in line. The previous 2 Quick Shuttle buses were also still in line when we got there. Most people going to Seatac missed their flights. Moral of the story here is: It's not worth it to save money flying into Seattle and taking the shuttle to Vancouver to save US$150.00. I got home about 6pm, a very long day. And I wasn’t even in Africa!

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Aug 5th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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What a nice day for you all. Thanks for posting photos and report. Guess you didn't need to pack the stapler for the GTG!

Great menu too!

CW
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Aug 5th, 2007, 11:46 PM
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What fun! Thanks for sharing the event and the pictures.
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Aug 9th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Imelda and Deck,
Did you get home OK? How was Chicago?
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Aug 9th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Oh boy oh boy Lynda, You ARE quick with these reports!!!! (Kristina was right - we weren't even home at that stage!). I did take a VERY quick look here on Tuesday but didn't spot your post - sorry.
We had a FANTASTIC time with you all - thank you SO much for taking the time to show us around and take such good care of us. Kristina, thank you VERY much for making the journey to meet us (and for facing that horrendous traffic) - it was really great to meet you. I have to say though, I'm only sorry we didn't get to spend a few more hours - the time passed far too quickly.

Kristina, we actually were VERY lucky with our flights - I slept for 2 of the 3.5 hours from Vancouver to Chicago and although we had to collect our bags in Chicago we checked them immediately for our flight home. We were EXTREMELY lucky as the very very nice lady in the check-in desk gave us the two bulkhead seats in FIRST CLASS!!!!!!!! We couldn't believe it and didn't actually realise her generosity until we boarded the plane (that's what tiredness does). We had HUGE leather seats with just two in the row ..sooooo comfy! I think this flight doesn't actually sell these seats as first class, rather as coach with assignments given to AA Elite members. You don't get the First Class 'perks' other than the amazing seats but I for one am not complaining ....... think I'm going to have to win the lottery to fly like this anymore.
We didn't actually see any of Chicago as we booked a room and managed to get an amazing 7 hours sleep. After a bite to eat it was back to the airport again.

Denis, only Lynda could have thought of a sign like that! I'm still giggling about it and she let me take it home so it's taking pride of place in my Alaska Scrapbook.

Michael, Hopefully I will get around to a short trip report (when I have gotten over the denial that the trip is over). I didn't keep a journal so it will be from memory and will be pretty short. I will definately post a link here though. BTW, Brooks was absolutely AMAZING - I ended up with more than 400 photographs in the few short hours we spent there!

CW, The menu did not only sound great - it was yuummmieee - Deck is still raving about Jim's unbelievable steak and I'm just waiting to try out Lynda's recipe for those fabulous twice baked potatoes (I know they won't turn out as good as yours Lynda but I'll give it a shot!).

Imelda
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Aug 9th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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I'm glad to hear it Imelda. You lucked out with those First Class seats, indeed. Lynda's twice baked potatoes were fabulous, let's not even mention Jim's puuuuuuuuurfect steaks (cheetah purr), mine seared but short of muuuhing! Sorry, you couldn't stay for the Imelda special pie from the Granville Bakery !!!!!!!!!!!!
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